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Special Report With Bret Baier

News/Business. Bret Baier. The latest news from inside the Beltway. New.

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U.s. 8, Hugo Chavez 8, Washington 5, Bret 4, Bill Clinton 4, Broadview 3, North Koreans 3, Obama 3, Louisiana 3, Ben Nelson 3, North Korea 3, America 3, Venezuela 2, South America 2, Michigan 2, Jefferson 2, Geico 2, Pentagon 2, United States 2, Fox News 2,
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  FOX News    Special Report With Bret Baier    News/Business. Bret Baier. The  
   latest news from inside the Beltway. New.  

    August 5, 2009
    6:00 - 6:47pm EDT  

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yes, from new york, good night, america. [captioning made possible by fox news channel] captioned by the national captioning institute ---www.ncicap.org--- bret: next on "special report," the obama administration asks for your help in fighting off misinformation about the healthcare plan. we'll look at how reform legislation could be derailed by the most divisive political issue, abortion. we'll examine the events that led up to today's tearful reunion of journalists released from captivity and hugo chavez beats the drums of war over u.s. troop movement in south america. all that plus the all-star panel, right here, right now. bret: welcome to washington. i'm bret baier.
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breaking news within the last few minutes. a federal jury has found former louisiana democratic congressman william jefferson guilty of bribery. this case is best known, you may remember, with the $90,000 federal agents found in his freezer. national correspondent catherine herridge joins us live with details. >> according to reports we are receiving from the federal courthouse in alex an dree ya, the former congressman has been found guilty of 11 of the charges against him, including bribery, in one of the most notorious trials in the beltway within years. he was accused of accepting $400,000 in bribes and $90,000 was found stashed in the freezer of his d.c. home and in addition he was accused of seeking millions more in exchange for putting together business deals in africa. he was indicted in june of 2007, two years after f.b.i. agents began amassing the bulk of the case against him. the evidence came from an
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f.b.i. informant. jefferson, who has represented louisiana's second congressional district, which includes most of new orleans, lost his seat in the last election after nine terms. now, jefferson, as you remember, had served on the house ways and committee and co-chaired the caucus on african trade and investment. jefferson had pleaded not guilty and his attorneys had maintained that he was acting as a project businessman and his actions did not constitute bribery under federal law. now, we're still waiting for more information from the courthouse, but prior to the verdict, a spokesman for the court said he could face up to 235 years in prison for these crimes. bret: it was an eight-week trial. we are expecting authorities to release more information about this. >> this is where the story goes tomorrow. what we're expecting later today is that the court will release videotaped evidence that was presented to the court in the trial and videotape or at least pictures of the cash found wrapped in tinfoil in the freezer of the
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congressman's home here in washington, d.c., and it was this element of the case that drew the most attention and ultimately was perhaps the most difficult for him to explain away to the jury. bret: catherine, thank you. now to our continuing coverage over the debate about healthcare reform legislation. the white house is accusing healthcare reform opponents of a propaganda campaign and asking the public for help in combating it. molly hennenberg reports, to some, this outreach smacks of big brother. we report. you decide. it's difficult, the white house says, on its blog at whitehouse.gov to get a handle on, quote, rumors, and quote, disinformation about healthcare reform, so the white house makes this request, quote, since we can't keep track of all of them here at the white house, we're asking for your help. if you get an e-mail or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov." conservatives in congress and on the aid yo jumped all over
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that saying the white house is acting orwellian. if you get an e-mail that doesn't look right, send it to the white house? is this 1984? is big brother watching? >> they're looking for tattletales. they're looking for snitches. they're looking for informants. >> john cornyn sent a letter to president obama saying "i'm not aware of any precedent for a president asking american citizens to report their fellow citizens to the white house for pure political speech that is deemed "fishy." and demanding what action do you intend to take for those engaging in fishy speech? dozens of citizens have been speaking out at town hall events on health healthcare, including this one in wisconsin. democratic congressman steve kagen got an earful. the white house and congressional democrats say this is an orchestrated, or, quote, manufactured effort by republicans and special
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interest groups. >> there are groups that are spreading people out across the country to go to these things, and to specifically generate videos that can be posted on internet sites. it did disrupts the message. the story becomes the disruption. not the message. >> in fact, the democratic party has put out a new web ad called, quote, enough of the mob. >> this mob be activity is straight from the playbook of high-level political operatives. they have no plan for moving our country forward, so they have called out the mob. >> trevor francis with the republican national committee disputes that and says these are americans with legitimate concerns. >> people are doing this on their own volition. >> top senate democrat harry reid says members of congress will continue to press for a reform, quote, in spite of the loud shrill voices trying to interrupt town hall meetings.
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republicans say lawmakers have a responsibility to listen to constituents and their concerns. bret. bret: molly, thank you. of all the stumbling blocks to healthcare reform, there may be none more polarizing than abortion. correspondent james rosen reports on the problems facing lawmakers trying to please two very different constituencies. >> perhaps the most contentious issue in american politics over the past 35 years, abortion now threatens to divide senators grasping for a bipartisan compromise on healthcare reform ax key senate negotiator said wednesday lawmakers are trying to steer a middle course. >> there are ongoing discussions with pro life and pro choice groups getting their input, and so that that they are not prepared to reach a conclusion. >> the state court legalized abortions in roe vs. wade in 1973. subsequent statutes have largely prohibited federal funds from being used to
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subsidize abortions which are covered in most privately sponsored health employee plans. the issue flared up last week when members of the commerce committee debated their compromise package. >> by voting for this amendment, the committee will be casting a vote in favor of the abortions in the government plan. >> no plan, either public or private, will be required to cover abortions services. >> the panel agreed that abortions performed under any public plan will be subsidized with non-federal funds but the version adopted by the senate health committee goes a step farther, allowing federal funds to be used to pay for abortions performed through the public plan and private exchanges. a republican on that committee warned the senate finance committee, which is still hashing out its own reform bill, likely to be the most influential, not to follow suit. >> it has changed the law on abortion and if it does it will create a new unwelcome obstacle to come to a bipartisan agreement on healthcare reform. >> on another front, a battle
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between the obama white house and congress on the power of a panel designed to trim ran estimated $400 million in wasteful spending at medicare. the chairman of the senate finance committee announced a breakthrough in which the panel known as the medicare preservation committee will share authority with lawmakers. >> even if congress doesn't agree to the recommendations, or as a substitute with the same value, then those recommendations automatically go into effect. >> the gang of six negotiators on the senate finance committee, led by senator baucus, are set to visit the white house tomorrow morning, but sources tell fox news not to expect any announcement of a breakthrough on healthcare reform. bret. bret: james rosen live on capitol hill. thanks. factory orders rose in june for the fourth time in five months. the 4/10 of a poants rise surpassed and surprised economists who thought there would be a .4% drop.
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the dow tumbled 2 and nasdaq fell 18 and the president traveled to one of the hardest hit areas in the country to convince people that his economic plan is working. senior white house correspondent major garrett shows us what he said. >> there has been a lot of misinformation out there about the recovery act. >> president obama defended his economic stimulus by touting his tax cuts designed to calm fears that he might raise taxes on the middle class. >> we kept a campaign promise to put a middle class tax cut in the pockets of 95% of working families. >> payroll tax refunds of $15 per week per family did help, economists say. >> that gave consumers a little bit more cash each week to spend that. contributed to the stabilization that we have seen in consumer spending in recent months. >> the president is still trying to dig out of a hole dug by his top economic advisors who reece septemberly left the door open to future middle class tax increases, a
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notion the white house spokesman quickly shot down. mr. obama told nbc today he won't raise taxes on anyone, not even those makes $250,000 a year until the bush tax cuts expire in 2011. >> the last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy. >> and the recession is still here. the institute for supply mngment non-manufacturing survey shows the service sector, which accounts for 90% of the u.s. economy, continues to contract. employers cut 371,000 jobs in july. the bright spot, manufacturing and housing appear to be stabilizing and companies are shedding fewer jobs than they were in the spring. >> the economy is getting set to turn around. it certainly is going to be still another rough civil to nine months in the labor market, however. >> mr. obama and vice president biden announced $4.2 billion in new grants for car and truck battery research. >> this represents the largest
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investment in this kind of technology in american history. >> the vice president brought $1 billion in battery money to michigan, vowing it would create 19,000 new jobs. >> allow us to tell the chics of the oil-producing states, no thanks, we don't need you. >> and you drove a vehicle zero to 60 in four seconds. ladies and gentlemen, the idea that it can only get there with a combustion engine ain't there no more. >> on the automobile front, toyota is enjoying better performance than ford. corolla outdistanced the focus in the cash for clunkers program. bret: missouri republican senator kit bond says he will vote for sonia sotomayor thursday. bond is the 7th republican to announce an affirmative decision. he joins lindsey graham of south carolina, susan collins and olympia snowe of maine,
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florida's mel martinez, richard lugar of indiana, and lamar alexander of tennessee. congress members will travel in style at your considerable expense and look at the politics involved in bill clinton's trip to get two american journalists back from north korea. come on. [ kissing ] come on. good girl. mollie's never looked better. i really was amazed to see the change in her coat. people stop us when we're walking, and they'll say, "did you shine up her spots?" [ woman announcing ] just another way purina one...
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bret: reporters held prisoners in north korea are sprenning their first days back in the u.s. and bill clinton is being lauded for his efforts for retrieving them. jennifer griffin reports on what happened behind summary scenes to make the homecoming possible. >> when the two american journalists emerged from the plane, there wasn't a dry eye on the tarmac. for five months, euna lee's husband had told their four-year-old daughter her mommy was at work. >> we feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp and then
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suddenly, we were told that we were going to a meeting. >> when we walked in through the door, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> the two women were working for al gore's current television when gabbed along the chinese border. mr. clinton was asked for by name in a phone call the north koreans allowed them to make in june, suggesting if the former president would come, the women would be released. >> we have always considered that a totally separate issue from our efforts to reengage the north koreans and have them return to the six-party talks. >> >> the white house insisted it was a private mission. >> i wanted to thank president bill clinton. i had a chance to talk to him for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the
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two journalists. >> mr. obama did not speak to mr. clinton before he left, but the former president was briefed by mr. obama's national security team and the c.i.a. twice before undertaking the mission. kim scwong il had wanted bill clinton to visit north korea since 2000 when he was still president. once clinton landed, kim's government tweeted but none of the official news reports mentioned the two journalists. that's never what this was about, said former ambassador john bolton. >> kim jung il saw these journalists as pawns in a larger strategic struggle, principally over the nuclear weapons program but due in part to the secession succession issue as his health deteriorates. >> secretary of state clinton today said that the north koreans will be welcome back at six-party talks, but kim has apparently gotten what he has long wanted, one-on-one talks with a high-profile
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american. bret: jennifer griffin live at the pentagon. thank you. in other news around the world, the russian official says the presence of two russian nuclear attack submarines in the atlantic near u.s. waters is a normal thing, and that the subs were on a routine training mission. the pentagon says one of the submarines was patrolling in international waters off the georgia coast, and the other was near greenland. in south core e ya, police commandos seized all but one key building in a south korean auto factory which has been occupied by hundreds of laid off workers for two months. battle riot police used tear gas cans today. the fifth largest carmaker has been in bankruptcy protection since february. in australia, one of five men charged in a plot to attack a military base angrily denied he is a terrorist. he refused to stand before a judge today in melbourne. he did not enter a plea and he accused the >> strailian troops of killing
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innocent people overseas. coming up, we'll show you who is on the losing end of the cash for clunkers program, and even though many in irand think he really lost, mahmoud ahmadinejad is sworn in for another term as president. geico's been saving people money on car insurance for over 70 years. and who doesn't want value for their dollar? been true since the day i made my first dollar. where is that dollar? i got it out to show you... uhh... was it rather old and wrinkly? yeah, you saw it? umm fancy a crisp? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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bret: white house press secretary robert gibbs reversed himself after saying tuesday ahmadinejad is iran's elected leader. this morning, gibbs corrected himself saying ahmadinejad is the inaugurated president. questions about the legitimacy of ahmadinejad's re-election in june continue to spark protests even as he was sworn in today. correspondent amy kellogg has the story. >> ma miewd ahmadinejad was
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sworn in for a second term as president of the islamic republic of iran before the parliament. it was not a packed house. dozens of members chose to stay away. the security was as heavy on the streets as it has been since the june election. still, hundreds came out to he protest. no more chants of "death to america." for these protestors, the new villain is russia, whose president welcomed ahmadinejad at the summit just days after the election. another form of protests, the leaders of germany, france and britain refrained from sending ahmadinejad congratulations, as is customary. >> everybody in iran is waiting for congratulations. the iranian government is not receiving congratulations or smiles. >> also the spirtual center cult wants to see an islamic republic that follows its own constitution. they're not happy with the way
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the oppositions were handled, the way demonstrators were suppressed. it is creating a lot of pressure within the society on them, and they have to be responsive. >> iranian power brokers were asked about the inauguration ceremony today and traditionally they have kept internal disputes out of the public eye, one of the most striking aspects of events of the last two months is that image of regime unity has been shattered. in london, amy kellogg, fox news. bret: hugo chavez says an american planned increase in troops at colombian bases could start a war. steve harrigan is in our miami bureau with details. good evening, steve. >> bret, this new deal, which could be inked this summer between the united states and columbia would mean more u.s. forces and military advisors inside columbia. that's something that according to the president of venezuela, hugo chavez, that could be one more step towards war in south america. speaking today in the capital
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of caracas, here is what hugo chavez had to say about the deal. >> in our brother nation, the government of columbia is, unfortunately, handing its sovereignty over to the yankee empire. they turning columbia over into an imperialist state of operations which threatens the sovereignty of venezuela. >> of course, making threats about war with the united states is nothing knew for hugo chavez. he does it almost weekly on his own television show. the details about this pact are coming out right now. the u.s. sends 250 advisors to columbia. they're not allowed to participate in combat actions. under the new deal, that number could go up to 1,500. hugo chavez says they would cease to be columbian military bases an they would be u.s. bases and columbia would use the bases to launch attacks on its neighbors. ite now the controversy comes while there is controversy at home for hugo chavez. he is in the process of shutting down several hundred aid yo stations and launching
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attacks against the country's one independent television station and passing a new law that means any journalist who criticizes the government could go to jail for four years, so this international skirmish coming at a time when there troubles at home, also, for hugo chavez. bret, back to you. bret: steve harrigan live in miami. you may think the cash for clunkers program is taking a chunk out of global warming. we'll tell you what some experts are saying, and the president tells liberal groups to back off. (announcer) the same rapid response you expect
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bret: and now fresh pickings from the political grapevine. some environmental experts are saying the cash for clunkers program is an ineffective way to target climate change. an sorted press analysis of transportation department figures indicates the program will have the same effect on the environment as shutting down the entire country including cars and power plants for just one hour per year. it will save roughly 72 million gallons of gasoline a year but the energy department says american drivers go through that amount of fuel
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every four and a half hours. one m.i.t. professor says, quote, the amount of carbon you are saving per federal expenditure is very, very small. a scientist the the university of michigan's transportation research instituted as "there's 260 million vehicles on the ode and you're talking about a quarter million vehicles? it's just a drop in the bucket." members of congress lambasted the c.e.o.s of the domestic automakers last year for flying to washington on private jets to attend the hearings about the prospective federal bailout of their companies, but congress is apparently not against private air travel for itself. roll call newspaper reports lawmakers have tripled the air forces original request for one new gulf stream business jet. the house appropriations committee approved the air force application, and then added two more jets at an additional cost of $132 million and lawmakers stipulated the planes be used to ferry members of congress
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and top government officials. the committee viewed the additional jets as an expansion of an existing program, so the request was not lists listed as an earmark. the legislation does not say who requested the additional funding. and president obama thinks liberal groups targeting centrist democrats over healthcare reform need to back off. the politico newspaper reports a white house official says the president made that statement to senate democrats at their lunch tuesday, quote, he said he didn't like to see left wing groups attack fellow democrats. one of those democrats under attack is nebraska senator ben nelson. two progressive organizations have launched an ad against the senator which listed his home number urging viewers to call nelson to complain about what they call his efforts to slow down the push for healthcare reform legislation. the only problem is the number listed is the district office for louisiana democratic senator mary landrieu. a landrieu spokesman says,
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quote, i find their attack ad on ben nelson to be pretty ineffective. their strategy of encouraging nebraskaians to call ben nelson at senator landrieu's office is ill-conceived, at best." getting back to cash for clunkers, we have brought you glowing reviews of this program, but some people are taking major hits because of it. correspondent adam housley explains from suburban los angeles. >> it's pretty bleak, pretty bleak. >> right way charity services in sun valley, california turns thousands of donated cars into money for local food banks, homeless shelters an boys and girls clubs. they say the recession has put a dent in donations. they're down 30% from last year. >> now people are very leery to donate their vehicle. they are holding on to what they have and fixing the cars that they have. >> now cash for clunkers has really put the brakes on, putting charities third in line. charities can offer a tax write-off for as little as $500 next spring that.
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can't compete with cash for clunkers, handing out up to $4,500 towards a new car right now. >> in this tight economic time, i thought i might as well get as much help as i can, so, yes, i have thought about donating, but unfortunately, i do need a vehicle for myself. >> repair shops and parts stores are also hurting as some customers trade in clunkers instead of fixing them. some economists worry all this may be a drop in the bucket. >> my only concern is what happens when the program expires, which is going to be soon. do sales go back down? they very well could. this is an artificial stimulus. >> the latest i.r.s. figures show 300,000 cars like these were donated to charities back in 2005. while cash for clunkers may be a shot in the arm for auto dealers, charities that rely on these cars say uncle sam has put them on life support. in sun valley, california, adam housley, fox news. bret: the sheriff in alabama's most populace county says the
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military may have to be called in if he is forced to lay off nearly 500 workers. it is the latest development in the county's battle to avoid what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy ever. correspondent jonathan serie has the story. >> mike hale lost a bottle to cut his budget by more than $4 million and now the sheriff says he has to lay off deputies, he will need the guards for reinforcement. >> their presence would have a chilling effect in a lot of ways. before this court ruling, i had two homicides and a burglary in this county. we just need a presence on the street. >> already budget cuts in other jefferson county offices have forced residents to stand in long lines for even routine services such as vehicle tag renewal. >> you have people 60, 70, and
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80 and you have to stand up for four or five hours. they ought to be able to accommodate it some other way. >> embroiled in a budget crisis, alabama's largest county has closed satellite offices in outlying communities and laid off unfortunately 1,000 employees, more than a quarter of the total workforce. sheriff hale says public safety is crucial but county commissioners say so are many other services that are already sharing in the cuts. >> is no good if we have law enforcement and don't have a coroner to say this person was murdered. we have to have all the services in place. >> state lawmakers from the area have a plan to charge a new occupational tax on every worker in the county. supporters from both parties concede it is an imperfect solution but insist it is far better than calling in the national guard. bret: a federal judge in north carolina has ordered six terrorism suspects to be detained until trial.
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the judge says the men are flight risks because of their contacts in foreign countries and access to cash. just received this video released by the u.s. attorney's office showing one of the accused shooting a weapon. the men are accused of training in north carolina for jihad in other countries. as the public complains about healthcare reform in town hall meetings around the country, democrats are complaining about the public in the town hall meetings. the fox all-stars who never complain join me after there break. ( chirp ) team three, boathouse? ( chirp ) oh yeah. his and hers. - ( crowd gasps ) - ( chirp ) van gogh? ( chirp ) even steven. - ( chirp ) mansion? - ( chirp ) good to go. ( grunts ) timber! ( chirp ) boss? what do we do with the shih-tzu? - ( chirp ) joint custody. - dog: phew... announcer: get work done now. communicate in less than a second with nextel direct connect. only on the now network. deaf, hard of hearing and people with speech disabilities access www.sprintrelay.com.
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>> they don't want to be constructive. they just want to get in the usual political fights, back and forth, and sometimes that's fed by all the cable chatter on the media, but you and i know the truth. this country wasn't built just by griping and complaining. it was built by hard work, and
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taking risks. bret: well, thats was the president today talking about opponents to his agenda, including healthcare reform legislation. the d.n.c. had a different take on the folks at these town hall meetings across the country. take a listen. >> it will break him. >> i hope he fails. >> this mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level republican political operatives. they have no plan for moving our country forward, so they have called out the mob. bret: ok. that ad continues. what about this tactic by the white house and the democratic national committee? let's bring in our panel, michael bar roan, senior political analyst for the for the washington examiner and a.b. stoddard and charles krauthammer. this is alive, michael, the mob in the town hall meetings. >> they are trying to demonize this by focusing on people at
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the town hall meetings and demonizing the insurance companies, but now the reason is that the support for the democratic plans has been dropping like a stone. we had a persuasive and articulate president out there and the highly skilled leaders in congress and support for these plans has gone down. opposition has gone up. they crossed the line. grasspollster.com has shown that the support has gone down. the quinnipiack poll today found by a 57/37 margin, americans oppose any healthcare that would increase the deficit and support for current health systems, according to pollster scott rasmussen has gone up from less to 50% to well over 50%. people threatened with the government plan have come to appreciate what they have got. bret: the president has said
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this country wasn't built on griping and complaining today. his white house press secretary said these town halls are manufactured events, went as far as saying that. it is an interesting thing to see the white house operating in this way, isn't it? >> there was also some accusation that the people coming to these gatherings are actually representing the interest of the insurance companies, which is really a stretch. they obviously feel that they have to fight back against these mobs because their own members who they have bewildered in recent weeks with mixed messages and not a lot of leadership from the white house have come home and can't even be heard at these meetings. now, i think the problem started weeks before the angry mobs showed up, and that is because there is no program that the leadership and the white house has been able to send conservative nervous moderate centrist democrats home with, so when people talking about a public plan, when they're talking about
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socialized medicine, there is nothing to push back on, and so this problem could have been avoided altogether before we had this scene, but this is democracy in action. there is nothing they can do. the more they complain about it at the white house level, i think the worse it becomes. >> well, the white house accusers are being orchestrated and organized. i thought that community organizing was a high calling. i mean, our president, he used to deploy every day when he was a campaigner, as a sign of his altruism. this is unbelievable hip pock cassie. it is because the administration has a hard time defending itself on the merits of the case, the support for healthcare reform is taking, and that is because it understands that the people who you look at, as you unpack what is happening here and what is in the bill, it is a monstrosity. the administration has made a turn in the p.r. and you can see it in an op ed that the secretary of health and human services had earlier this week
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with the post, "the washington post" in which she mentioned the uninsured in paragraph one, and you never heard about them again. it was all about the insured, keeping it and having it, and making the insurance companies have you keep it. the reason that they have shifted is because that's how you sell it, but the problem is, that's not what's in the bills. the bills being discussed in the town halls, the bills that have been out there for weeks and the bills that have been drafted, and you can read, have all this other stuff in there. the mandates, and the huge deficits, and the new-aged nonsense of wellness and other stuff that everybody is rejecting. that's what they're stuck withite now. bret: the other thing that is perking people's ears, especially on the republican side is, this call by the wright house on the website, if you see anything fishy, as far as an e-mail, or a website about healthcare reform that seems fishy, send it to white
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house.gov. here is what senator cornyn of texas said about that "it is inevitable that the names, e-mail addresses, ip addresses and private speech of u.s. citizens will be the reported to the white house. i can only imagine the outage if your predecessor asked e-mails to be forwarded to the white house. i suspect you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program and i would have been at your side denouncing such heavy-handed government action." what about this, michael? >> i think senator cornyn is getting a little overwrought about this, but this should not have come from the white house t might be legitimate coming from the democratic national committee or one of the democratic astroturf groups out. there i mean, david axelrod, the president's chief advisor was an astroturf special specialist in terms of organizing people that would come together. bret: as opposed to grassroots. >> yes, as opposed to grassroots. it is a weak attempt to intimidate people. what is fascinating when pro
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democratic healthcare groups sent out these mass e-mails that say show up, come here, show how much you're in favor of the president's position, they get a handful of people. these other groups, or just spontaneous citizens, get huge numbers of people, you know, 150 with where the town hall meetings used to get 20 and that sort of thing. the balance of enthusiasm has changed. it favored obama in '08. it is working against him now. >> that's really the cusm here. i agree with michael that this is the kind of activity that is pushed back in the solicitation for fishy e-mails that should come from organizing for america or d.n.c. or one of those other groups but at the same time the real problem here is that the left wing of its party, the middle of his own party, are not a